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Hispanic Activists Criticize Herbalife As ‘Pyramid Scheme’

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Hispanic activists are calling the Herbalife company a pyramid scheme and a fraud that the state Attorney General should investigate.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, Herbalife officials say it’s an honorable company, in business for 30 years, and suffering from a barrage of complaints from Pershing Square investments, which has made a billion dollar short sale bet that the company stock will drop.

Herbalife spokesman Marco Gonzalez points out stock market investors see the company fortunes and practices differently, having tripled the stock in the last three years.

Omar Duque, CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, presented two Lake County men who say they lost their life savings buying expensive weight loss and skin care products that they couldn’t sell or return to the company.

Duque says the only real money being made is by those at the top of the pyramid who benefit every time a newcomer signs up with the company.

Julie Contreras, president of Waukegan LULAC, says Herbalife is taking advantage of the entrepreneurial spirit of immigrant Hispanics, then leaving them destitute.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office says it’s reviewing the complaints and assertions from Hispanic activists before deciding whether any action is warranted.

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